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Oral History Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979. Interview H-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Murphy Yomen Sigmon entered the workforce at the age of fourteen and held a variety of jobs in North Carolina industries before a mill shutdown ended his long working life. He began his laboring life in a shoelace factory, held a number of positions in a cotton mill, ran his own sock-making outfit, worked in a hosiery mill, and at the time of the interview, was dabbling in furniture-making out of a home workshop. In this interview, Sigmon describes these experiences, from taking swimming breaks while working as a doffer in a cotton mill, struggling to find work during the Great Depression, or enlisting his wife to help him start a sock-making business. Most of this interview addresses the details of the mill as a workplace, but the interviewer does take some time to ask Sigmon his opinions on subjects such as unions and social stratification among southern laborers.
    Excerpts
  • Starting work as a child and leaving upon discovery
  • Coping with the Great Depression
  • Moviegoing in Hickory, North Carolina
  • Sigmon's work at the cotton mill, including doffing and fixing spinning frames
  • The eight-hour workday limits fun on the job
  • Cotton mill work branded workers with low social status
  • The Great Depression and industry movement overseas hurts the local economy
  • Assessing the impact of unions on worker pay and treatment
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • North Carolina--Politics and government
  • Textile workers--North Carolina
  • Trade-unions--Textile workers--North Carolina
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.